Important Topic: Indian Councils Act, 1861

Important Topics for Competitive Exams

Important Topic

Various provisions of the Indian Councils Act, 1861

Expansion of executive council of Governor General / Viceroy. The executive council of Governor General was added a fifth finance member. For legislative purpose, a provision was made for an addition of 6 to 12 members to the central executive. At least half of the additional members were to be non-officials. These members were nominated by the Viceroy for the period of two years.

Further, the Governor General/Viceroy had been given some more powers such as:

  • He was authorized to nominate a president to preside over the meetings of the Executive council in his absence.
  • He had the power of making rules and regulations for the conduct of business of executive council.
  • He could create new provinces for legislative purposes and to appoint Lieutenant Governors for them. He was also empowered to alter, modify or adjust the limits of the provinces.
  • He could promulgate ordinances, without the concurrence of the legislative council, during and emergency.
  • Though the central council was empowered to legislate on all subjects concerning all persons and courts in British India but every bill passed required the assent of viceroy.
  • He could withhold his assent or exercise his veto power if he felt that the bill affected the safety, peace and interest of British India.
  • He had to communicate all laws to secretary of state for India who could disallow them with the assent of the crown.
  • Introduction of Portfolio System
  • Process of Decentralization

No distinction between Central and Provincial subjects.

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